University College London, UK
Personalised books and young children’s reading on screen
The increased availability of customisable technologies and broader socio-cultural and economic phenomena (e.g., increased urbanization, globalization and multiculturalism), have led to a heightened commercial interest in personalised products for young children. This talk focuses on personalized books and personalised digital reading. I will begin with an explanation of what is meant by digital personalisation in early childhood, with some examples of the resources and practices subsumed under this umbrella term. I will outline how digital personalization affects children’s reading experience and how it impacts on children’s learning. In particular, I will focus on the data from an ESRC-funded project on Children’s Personalised Stories. PhaseII of the project aimed to examine in detail parents’ attitudes and practices concerning personalized digital books. Seven mothers and their 3-5-year-old children were videoed reading four award-winning digital books at home, supplemented with interview data and fieldwork notes. I will discuss key themes from this study and how they relate to agency and subjectivity in children’s reading on screen. I will conclude with attention to research methods, with participatory and community-based research highlighted as a promising methodological approach to personalisation.